Tag Archives: Tepco

Japan Diary 2016, Fukushima+5, Part 7. These women are pissed.

The post-Fukushima period is generating oceans of data, but much of it is useless. These women generate their own, but want more solid data than the government has been willing to provide.

The post-Fukushima period is generating oceans of data, but much of it is useless. These women generate their own, but also want more solid data than the government has been willing to provide.

Don’t get me wrong: These women are pissed! (My word not theirs.) And they have every right to express that, even in Japan, at least according to its constitution.

I cannot leave Japan without peeling back the layer of sticky rice and sweet bean paste that keeps the victims of Tepco’s iodine, cesium and strontium on their feet. Continue reading

Japan Diary 2016, Fukushima+5 Part 3. People are Sick Now

Fukushima Units 3 and 4, April 2011

Fukushima Units 3 (right) and 4 (left), April 2011

Friends, I am sorry, but I am not sharing any faces or names. I want to protect these women. Nonetheless I can tell you they are more beautiful than any temple…

Radioactivity and the radiation it produces is invisible. I am here in Japan, and after leaving Fukushima Prefecture have begun our speaking tour. Steve Leeper has called on his networks via YMCA and consumer coops to host events, and his ally, Mori-Jushoku has reached out to his Buddhist communities. We have a brisk schedule with one to three events a day spanning five Prefectures. Arnie Gundersen (www.fairewinds.org) is also touring. Some legs we are together, others we diverge. Continue reading

Japan Diary 2016, Fukushima+5 Part 2. Hope and False Hope: Atomic Fallout Changes our Environment and Always Results in Injustice

Fukushima, April 2011

Fukushima, April 2011

Some who read yesterday’s post from Temporary Housing near Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture are probably still unhappy with me! The idea that small reductions in radiation exposure are any kind of “solution” flies in the face of what we know: there is no safe dose of radiation. We say: “No cure, only prevention!”

The women that I met on my first day here have no choice. Elders (60+), many have moved 4 or 5 times since they were forced to leave their homes in March 2011; some report when they reached the first Evacuation Center that their contamination levels were so high they pegged the monitors. Now most of their husbands are gone, their children have jobs in the big cities now, they are alone. For one reason or another, they need the support they get by staying where they are. Where they live now is unrestricted but still radioactive to varying degrees, well above where I live. When the evacuation order is lifted, most will have no choice but to return to houses that while “reduced” in radioactivity are not clean. Continue reading

Fukukshima aftermath, August 2014

Three and a half years later, the Fukushima accident shows no signs of ending.

Three and a half years later, the Fukushima accident shows no signs of ending.

Three and a half years after the onset of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, its ramifications continue to reverberate across the world, but as one would expect, especially in Japan.

A quick roundup of some recent Fukushima-related news:

Two Japanese economists released their study this week showing that financial costs of the accident are now at 11 trillion Yen, or about $106 billion. That’s about twice previous government estimates. Continue reading

Nuclear Newsreel, Monday, July 7, 2014

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear facility in Japan; with seven large reactors, it's the world largest. Tepco had been hoping to begin restarting them next month, but that's not going to happen.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear facility in Japan; with seven large reactors, it’s the world largest. Tepco had been hoping to begin restarting them next month, but that’s not going to happen.

A mish-mash of various news stories that caught our attention today, beginning in Japan…

…where Kyushu Electric’s Sendai nuclear reactors could restart this Autumn without its required off-site emergency center in place. Emergency evacuation plan regulations instituted after Fukushima expanded emergency planning zones to 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) and added other new requirements, including establishment of fully functional offsite emergency operations centers. But the center for the Sendai reactors–scheduled to be the first to restart in Japan–isn’t completed, and is lagging far behind schedule. The situation is similar at most other reactor sites in Japan, and emergency evacuation plans are emerging as a major issue in the country.

Meanwhile, restart of the world’s largest nuclear power facility, the seven-unit Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant owned by Tepco, has been delayed and won’t take place this year as Tepco had hoped. Tepco had promised its lenders that the reactors either would restart or that it would increase electricity prices, but the government has told Tepco not to implement the latter option.  Continue reading.

Nuclear Newsreel, Wednesday, May 21, 2014

It’s mid-week, a good time to catch up on some of the news–and there has been a lot of it recently.

Uranium Forecast

If you want to know what the nuclear industry really thinks about the future of nuclear power, it always pays to look at the uranium mining industry, which has to forecast future demand for its product. Last week, the giant uranium mining firm Cameco ended the permitting process for a major proposed new mine in Saskatchewan “because of slumping demand for the metal used to fuel nuclear power plants.” The company not only asked the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to postpone a schedule June hearing on the environmental assessment of the project, it withdrew its application for the mine entirely. Uranium prices are at an eight-year low because of large supply and poor demand–and forecasts for increased demand are bleak. So much for the global nuclear “renaissance.”  Continue reading

Nuclear Newsreel, Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Nuclear Power

Exelon is up to its old tricks–the kind that already got it kicked out of the American Wind Energy Association. The nuclear giant is once again trying to kill production tax credits for wind and solar power, but it sure doesn’t want to give up its taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power. The reason is, of course, that wind power (in the midwest especially) and natural gas, but even solar power, can and do provide electricity when needed most at lower prices than Exelon’s aging fleet of expensive nukes.

Both the wind and solar tax credits may be in trouble. Senate Finance Committee chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) unveiled a new tax credit bill yesterday that didn’t include either. However, Wyden, who supports both, is likely to add them as amendments to the bill in a committee markup session that could occur as early as tomorrow. But there is concern that the intense lobbying by Exelon and some right-wing organizations could make the amendments overly controversial in an election year.

Florida's St. Lucie reactors. Photo from enformable.com

Florida’s St. Lucie reactors. Photo from enformable.com

Safety concerns are ignored as NRC denies petition to keep FPL’s St. Lucie-2 reactor closed pending hearing. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) had filed the petition with the NRC in light of disclosures that the St. Lucie reactors, especially Unit-2 are showing signs of severe degradation of their steam generator tubes. Although the exact nature of the degradation is said to be somewhat different from what caused a steam generator tube rupture at San Onofre, eventually leading to the permanent shutdown of both reactors at that site, the possibility of such a rupture seems real, as does the probability of expensive repair work ahead. The NRC has not yet ruled on SACE’s request for a hearing on the issue.

Japanese families are torn as the first Fukushima evacuation refugees are being allowed to return to their homes. It’s a tiny area that Japan says has been cleaned up: 357 residents are eligible to return, but many of them say they won’t. The toll on mental health caused by stress, confusion, and lack of transparency by both the government and Tepco simply cannot be overstated. And the continued dangerous work involved in decommissioning and cleaning up the Fukushima reactors will put any returnees into harm’s way again for decades. Japan needs to acknowledge that the evacuation zone is for now and the foreseeable future a dead zone and instead focus its efforts on preventing a second Fukushima disaster rather than spending billions in largely futile attempts to clean up contaminated areas in that zone.

Don’t you love it when nuclear energy giants go clawing after each other over their failures? Duke Energy has sued Westinghouse over the cost of its cancelled Levy County nuclear project. Of course, Duke is getting most of the money it put into Levy County from ratepayers anyway, even though the reactors won’t be built, due to Florida’s outrageous “early cost recovery” law.

The Monticello reactor. Photo from NRC.

The Monticello reactor. Photo from NRC.

Another dangerous, aging reactor: the NRC is troubled by ‘degraded’ performance at Minnesota’s Monticello–yet another one of America’s Fukushima-clone GE Mark I reactors. The biggest issue for the agency is the site’s readiness to handle floods. Monticello is on the banks of the Mississippi River, which floods fairly often; a 2011 flood that partially submerged Nebraska’s Fort Calhoun reactor site kept that reactor down for more than two years. So flooding is one issue that the NRC is for the most part taking seriously. Unfortunately, the agency seems to be taking less seriously the possibility of flooding from the potential for major breaks in some of the country’s aging dam network, such as at the Oconee site in South Carolina, where whistleblowers inside the agency put the risk of meltdown at the three-unit site at 100% if a nearby dam fails.

Clean Energy

The potential from solar energy dwarfs that from all other energy sources combined.

The potential from solar energy dwarfs that from all other energy sources combined.

Solar energy is the motherlode. The world currently uses 16 TerraWatts of energy per year. The sun provides the earth with 23,000 possible TerraWatts per year, far dwarfing any other potential energy supply. The trick has been in harnessing all that free power, and the solar industry is finally doing so efficiently and cost-effectively. That’s why the sun will be the dominant energy source of the future. The great graphic above says it all.

Or does it? Right now at least, the real motherlode isn’t solar, or wind, or nuclear, gas, oil or coal. It’s energy efficiency, or as Amory Lovins has described efficiency: negawatts. Either way, energy not used to perform a task is like energy produced to perform that task. And increasing energy efficiency has been, and continues to be, the cheapest source of “new” electricity. While power demand continues to grow worldwide–and will continue to do so as large parts of our world are not even electrified, in the U.S. electricity demand’s peak was in 2006 and it has not yet returned to that peak; in fact demand has been falling as state-level efficiency programs and federal appliance and other efficiency standards have kicked in.

Michigan utilities are on target to meet their modest Renewable Energy Standard of 10% renewables by next year. But a new study from Union of Concerned Scientists argues the state could increase its standard to 30% by 2030 at basically no cost to taxpayers and ratepayers. However, Michigan voters in 2012 rejected a proposal to increase the standard to 25% by 2025, so it is not clear there is a sufficient political mandate there to adopt such a proposal.

Finally today, a great piece on CleanTechnica: Solar Power Advantages Versus Insanity. Want to save the planet? Go solar and the planet will thank you. More important to you to save some money? Then definitely go solar and your wallet will thank you. As the article concludes:

In the end, many of us have a fairly simple choice:

Get solar power on our home and/or business, help the planet, and benefit financially.

or

Continue sending our money to electric companies to make a handsome profit on our insanity while polluting the planet.

Sanity vs insanity. Your choice.

Inside Washington

Exactly the wrong approach: The U.S. Department of Energy is pushing Europe to increase its use of dirty energy to reduce its reliance on Russian natural gas. That’s advice that Europe, most of which is well ahead of the U.S. in adopting clean renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, really doesn’t need, nor probably want, to hear. The DOE told European nations they should increase nuclear power, natural gas fracking and carbon capture and sequestration technologies (not that those have worked in the U.S. yet, and likely never will be cost-effective). We get that the Obama Administration, and the President himself, likes to pretend that the “all of the above” energy strategy makes any sense at all. It doesn’t, it’s just a way to avoid making easy choices that would alienate one energy sector or another. But there is really no need to push such an inane policy on the rest of the world too. And that strategy is primarily driven by the DOE, first by Secretary Chu and now by Secretary Moniz. This is an agency that needs a major overhaul and needs to understand that in an era of limited financial resources, choosing all of the above is effectively the same as choosing none of the above.

Michael Mariotte

April 2, 2014

Permalink: https://safeenergy.org/2014/04/02/nuclear-newsreel-wednesday-april-2-2014/

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